A Patchwork of Doors: Accelerated Proceedings in Continental Criminal Justice Systems
36 Pages Posted: 22 Oct 2019
Date Written: July 28, 2019
English Abstract: Our paper surveys the development of hybrid models in two continental jurisdictions, Italy and France following the 1987 Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to accelerate criminal proceedings through the introduction of guilty pleas, out-ofcourt settlements and simplified proceedings. We describe the development of various frameworks for criminal justice as a multi-door arena, of which the plea bargaining is but one of several possibilities. In our review, we emphasize the consensual element, the place of the search of truth and the role of the stakeholders. In particular, we examine the power of the judges that underpins these accelerated frameworks for criminal trials. France and Italy have taken a different path of incorporating adversarial and inquisitorial elements to increase efficiency. The French system made gradual modifications and has changed from within. Aside from the more recent integration of two different proceedings without trial inspired by plea bargaining (The Composition Pénale et la Comparution sur Reconnaissance Préalable de Culpabilité (CRPC)), it has developed doors of abbreviated trial where the investigation stage is omitted (e.g., la Comparution Immédiate et la Citation Directe). This has resulted in a different version of the vanishing trial – the vanishing investigation. The Italian system, on the other hand, has announced a drastic transformation to an adversarial framework of trial, alongside adopting proceedings without trial that include elements inspired by plea bargaining (il Patteggiamento and Giudizio Abbreviato) and proceedings in which the investigation is waived (Il Giudizio Immediato and il Giudizio Direttissimo). This shift in Italy has not resulted in a vanishing trial phenomenon and, currently, the full adversarial-type trial remains the main door. This may be partly explained by the strict legislation of the statute of limitations concerning the time expected for a trial to finish. In this paper, we describe the sequence of transformations of these systems into a patchwork of doors of criminal justice. We emphasize the significance of these contemporary forms of justice in terms of the role of the judges and the possibility of transcending the goal of efficiency in quest of a conflict resolution perspective.
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